REVIEW by Rchard Gürtler
Jacob Newman and Devin Underwood are brand new names on the DataObscura roster and unknown to me. When searching for additional infos on both these US based artists, I found several download only releases on Earth Mantra by Jacob Newman, while Devin Underwood is, except for his co-work with Marcus Fisher (one CDr), more known as one half of Drexon Field (two CDs plus a few downloads) and his own Specta Ciera project (CDr plus a few downloads). Okay, let's focus now on "The Vivid Unmapped". An initial look at the light plastic packaging brings a first positive surprise, the slightly improved DataObscura design now features also a back cover card, so on the inside, when opening the transparent case, a nice panoramic picture is revealed. That is always a bonus with this kind of music. Nice work, APK!!! Exploring the sonic part, Jacob and Devin provide a very fresh blend of ambient tunes precisely enriched by a large dose of natural sounds. These air waves are tranquilly floating, but on many occasions are spiced by fragile experiments and ventures, but always with a highly mesmerizing impact. The opening "Early" sounds like morning life on the shoreline, just like the insert picture. "Upon Awakening" is a more breathing, but serene and warm soundscape with another fitting track title carefully describing the atmosphere. This is a true winner!!! "Unconscious Movement" keeps its lively mood with some gentle piano tunes and high-tech sonic excursions and glitches. The next piece, "Tracing Memory", flows on a mechanical course, but it is more mysterious and also exotic due to some flute-like sounds. Absolutely magnificent piece of music I must say!!! "Memory Canyon" moves on a darker and slightly cinematic path, again finely colored by assorted sounds, noises, glitches and gloomy voices. The more I listen to these minimal, but richly colored sonics, the more I am impressed. "Lucid Reaction" sophisticatedly blends futuristic sonics with environmental and primordial sounds, voices, and bits of evocative piano tunes. The result is an incredibly colorful and tricky composition with a deeply submersible effect! I think "Motionless Transportation" doesn't need any further description, the title speaks for itself. Although probably the most experimental, eclectic and more massive composition, it is a kind of transcendental experience!!! "Her Gesture" keeps the tension from its predecessor, but later moves into more quiet territory, a really nice conclusion! "The Vivid Unmapped" is definitely a top quality release from this talented duo excelling at textural richness, elaborateness and distinctiveness!!! So I really look forward to future offerings of Jacob and Devin, and hope this is not their last joint release. And big thanks also to DataObscura for bringing us this thrilling ambience!!!
(Aug 22, 2011, Bratislava, Slovakia)